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Surviving a Quarantine with your Partner (and maybe getting a little closer) during COVID-19 by Angela S. Taylor MA, LPC-S

It goes without saying that everyone is feeling the stress from the Coronavirus and its potential impact over the next couple of months/year. Throw in being confined to a small space with your partner, and we can all start to feel a little on edge. These factors could easily lead a couple to feel more tension and take that out on each other. Let’s try not to add more strain to an already stressful situation by cultivating kind and loving relationships with these ideas…

Validate each other’s feelings and emotions. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings about this, and there is no definite right way to feel. We can validate and hear our partner’s feelings without agreeing with them. I encourage couples to reflect, reflect, reflect until his/her partner feels heard. You don’t have to silver line the feelings, “but” the feelings away, or try to make that feeling different. Just sit with it, and take the pressure off of yourself to change it or make it better in some way. Remember that oftentimes, just expressing a feeling will help it dissipate. That in itself can decrease the tension and stress in the home.

Put time limits on discussing the pandemic. Set aside time to talk about what’s going on, and set clear boundaries. There’s only so much that can be said about the latest news, and after that, we’re just fostering and perpetuating more anxiety. I would set aside 30 minutes a day where you can plan, freak out, cuss, and discuss any new information you feel like you need to get out. After that, no more. Maybe come up with some kind of game. For example, anyone that brings it up has to donate a dollar to the money jar.

Laugh! Don’t forget to laugh and play – it really is a great cure. Play games, tell stories, and just have fun together. Rarely do we get this much time to remember those early days of dating when we would skip out on school, work, and other activities just to be together. Try to channel that, and really enjoy each other. Truly be in the moment and present with your partner – see them and hear them. Hold hands, cuddle, and ask questions. Be curious about your partner – maybe you’ll learn something new that makes your love grow even deeper.

Work out together. You need to move your body during this time for your mental and psychological health as well as your physical health. Why not do it together? This looks different depending on where you live. Some people can go for a walk or run together without running into anyone while others will need to find creative ways to work out at home. Either way, getting those endorphins flowing will help you connect, relieve stress, and feel a little more optimistic.

Plan a vacation. Eventually, we will get to travel again. Let’s dream a little. Where have you always wanted to go? What do you want to do there? Do you want to invite friends or family, or make it a special romantic getaway? Look into it and find that dream hotel, resort, Airbnb, etc.

Spend some time alone. This sounds counterintuitive, but you need a minute. Take time for you. Spending time with yourself is not choosing that over your partner, you need both. You need some time to breathe, refresh, and renew. Go to another room and read, take a bath, practice meditation, lean into your spirituality, etc. You and your relationship will be better for it.

Get intimate (and maybe be a little creative) – need I say more!

Be kind to one another. We’re all feeling the weight of this. The least we can do is be caring and patient with the ones closest to us. Take advantage of the time we have right now to grow and nurture your relationship. You might just feel some lasting effects of being really intentional with your partner for years to come.

For a little more help, here’s one of our favorite apps for connecting with your partner…

‎Gottman Card Decks on the App Store

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